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In today’s age of mergers and acquisitions, why remain an independent company?

With October 2016 having been the busiest month ever for domestic mergers and acquisitions and the upward trend expected to continue, according to Deloitte, what are the benefits of not joining the M&A bandwagon? Mergers and acquisitions take place for various reasons that include tapping into new markets, increasing market share, reducing competition, and expediting growth. If all goes according to plan, they can also bring significant financial benefits. However, mergers and acquisitions can also result in reduced productivity and job losses, and companies also run the risk of not properly pricing these deals as each company is unique and there is a wide variety attributing proper value to existing business relationships. In the same way that the company worth can be misconstrued, the original company vision can get lost in the shuffle. Most companies are forged on the basis of an idea or a passion with the intent of being profitable. Companies can also do good things for society – providing beneficial products or services, providing jobs, and positively affecting the economy, and that is the type of company Reid Middleton strives to be.

Remaining Independent

Reid Middleton has 85 employees and does significant work in not only the Pacific Rim states, but also across the US and even around the globe. We are considered small in an industry where the largest firms have tens of thousands of employees in many different countries, multi-billion dollar annual revenues, and ownership is traded in the stock market like a commodity. We could likely sell ourselves to a large firm and suddenly be a part of that echelon also. But there is something unique about being part of a smaller community and feeling that you are at least influencing (if not controlling) your own destiny. It affords the opportunity to focus on why this company was formed and why you joined it – both to work with others and also to be a part of an organization providing a real benefit to society.

I’ve had discussions with managers at large firms and they have shared their frustrations regarding a primary emphasis on ‘the numbers’. Particularly for publically traded companies, there is great pressure to show consistently improving financial performance reported on a quarterly basis. If the bottom line isn’t improving, then shareholders may call for major changes in the company leadership, direction, and organization. The focus can seem to move away from providing a benefit to society through a product or service, to a focus on providing a benefit to society through the financial gain that owners (shareholders) can obtain by investing in the company. Don’t misunderstand, as a small independent company, we need to be profitable, but we don’t have outside shareholders making demands on us to show a forecasted profit and requiring wholesale changes to the company in order to meet that number.

Client Focused Culture

At Reid Middleton we have developed a culture that continues to focus on meeting the needs of our clients. We want to be involved with our clients for the long term, developing relationships that are as successful as the projects themselves. We have assembled a staff that are dedicated to each other and the success of the firm and our clients. Our leadership is “home grown” and we have taken the company where it is today. We are an employee owned firm with 60% of our staff holding stock – ensuring everyone is invested in the long term success of the firm. Our board of directors averages 20 years tenure with Reid Middleton, bringing history and also commitment to being an enduring company. Our leadership wants to turn over what has been given to them – the opportunity to lead, decide and stay close to our clients and our work – to the next generation developing within Reid Middleton.

So why be an independent company? To provide a true benefit to society working with other like-minded people in a way that meets our clients’ needs while providing the personal satisfaction by doing it in a way and fashion that we have determined ourselves.

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